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I’ve wore out the ‘catching up” language on wine reviews but with these four, I’m caught up! Seriously! Until tonight, or maybe this afternoon!

It’s hard to measure the value of posting reviews and what one guy thinks of a bottle of wine but I do get occasional feedback from folks trying to find a specific bottle I’ve reviewed. More often, I talk about the varietal – as I will with one of these on this post – and someone will drop me a line wanting to know where to find it.

So reviews are worth the time if you’re going to blog about wine. But it’s just one opinion. If you scan any number of blogs you will find writers who alternately hate/love the same bottle. Hopefully, regular readers learn the writers’ palate – mine or anyone else’s – and that serves as a guide.

verdejoOro de Castilla 2011 Verdejo – Spanish Verdejo isn’t all that difficult to find but you’ll have to go to a wine shop. Unlikely you’re going to find it in any grocery unless you’re in a high-end establishment.

The good news is that its almost always a very affordable alternative to Sauvignon Blanc or wines with some crisp acidity that really hit the spot in the summer months.

This had a great bouquet with a lovely crisp freshness. Certainly a grapefruit flavor with some nice floral components. I drink the Verdejo in the summer for the crisp acidity and refreshing mouth feel. Though it has acid and minerality, it won’t be as powerful as a NZ or California Sauv Blanc.

Oro de Castilla 2011 Verdejo, $10-$15 in most shops, Recommended.

12PinotGris_FrontPonzi 2012 Pinot Gris – Gris is probably my favorite summer white wine for many of the same reasons I like Verdejo.

Ponzi is a big name in Oregon’s Willamette Valley but despite several trips out there I had never tried their wines. I found the Gris at a rock bottom $11.99 and grabbed one in an Indy wine shop. The winery was also one of the valley’s Pinot Gris pioneers.

It’s hard to put a label on this one but I’d call it good, really good actually but not great. I found green apple tartness and maybe something like white peach. By the way, I usually roll my eyes when I type sentences like the previous. Because if you taste the wine and find watermelon and rhubarb then it’s watermelon and rhubarb. But I digress!

This is nice wine for the price point. There are better and worse Oregon Pinot Gris on the market. It has nice aromas and I’d buy it again.

Ponzi 2012 Pinot Gris, $11.99 but closer to $17 in most markets, Recommended.

sancerreDomaine Jean-Paul Picard 2011 Sancerre – Sancerre is a region of France’s Loire Valley which produces Sauvignon Blanc – and great ones at that.

The difference between Sancerre and, say, New Zealand or California is a roundness and deft touch that wine lovers gravitate to more than the hammer and brick approach.

A delightfully round and soft mouthfeel is generally the characteristic I would use to describe the difference with Sancerre. This wine has a fresh-cut grass and mineral appeal I like. It’s dry it’s onl 12.5 percent alcohol.

Picard’s vines of this tiny area of Sancerre are nearly 30 years old. This is great wine.

Domaine Jean-Paul Picard 2011 Sanceree, $19.99-$22.99, Highly Recommended.

ElementsArtessa 2009 Elements – Big Napa Valley taste in a pretty darn good blend. I like the mix of 71 percent Cabernet, 16 percent Merlot, 5 percent Cab Franc, 5 percent Malbec, and 3 percent Petit Verdot. What did they miss?

For me, 2013 has been the year of really nice California Meritage, blends, kitchen-sink wines, whatever you want to call them – I like them.

The great thing about these wonderful blends, coming largely from California and Washington State, is they are great values.

This wine tastes big and it tastes expensive. But SRP from the winery is only $32 and you’ll often find it lower. As a matter of fact, I bought this wine off of one of the flash, discount internet sites for $17.99 and at that price its larceny!

This is typical California Meritage with big dark fruit, nice tannins, an herbal or spice base, and enough fruit to keep it all in balance.

Artessa 2009 Elements Meritage, SRP $32, Highly Recommended.

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